Mourinho and Guardiola kept apart at Mata restaurant

The two rival managers may favour different styles of The Beautiful Game, but when it comes to eating well, they share something in common.

The rivalry between José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola has been creating headlines ever since the two hugely successful managers first locked horns. We’ve watched over the years as their need to get one over on each other has grown to extreme, sometimes ugly, levels on the field, but what we didn’t realise, until now, is that there is another aspect to their splintered relationship, getting a table at the same restaurant.

Pep and José: avoiding restaurant conflict

Speaking with Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, the father of Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata explained the challenge that he has as owner of the Tapeo and Wine restaurant in Deansgate, about 15 minutes by car from Old Trafford. Both managers arrived in the English city with eyes on lifting the Premier League title ahead of the other, just as they had when at Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively in LaLiga.

They also had their eyes on Juan Manuel Mata’s dining establishment, and the businessman (who also acts as a football agent) revealed that he did everything to make sure they didn’t bump into each other.

“Pep Guardiola comes here lots,” said Mata senior, adding, “he brings his family and they enjoy it here.”

It seems that Mourinho frequented the restaurant of his then-player more often than his City rival but when the Portuguese and Catalan coaches coincided there was a plan in place.

“José Mourinho came at least once a fortnight. When they were both here at the same time I ensured that they didn’t meet, and I put them in separate private rooms.”

Guardiola’s Michelin starred manager

One reason for the Manchester City manager being a less frequent visitor could be due to him having his own restuarant in town. Along with Michelin starred Paco Perez, the Premier League winner opened Tast Cuina Catalana in the summer of 2018.

“Guardiola has a very nice restaurant in Manchester, but it is in a different style to ours. More Catalan,” Mata explained. One of the differences was that he offered customers the chance to watch football on the big screen. Not only does his son pop in for some dinner from time to time, but also teammates including fellow Spaniards David de Gea and Ander Herrera are also regular customers. As he says, “It’s like a little bit of Spain in Manchester.”